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The UnaBox 


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The UnaBox 

Written By: Claudio Bernardini 


Band saw (1) 

Carpenter's square (1) 

Clamps (1) 

Drill press (1) 


Pencil (1) 

Sanding block (1) 


Board (1) 

Our original box used the best Italian 
olive wood. Sourcing the wood locally 
avoids hardwoods with uncertain (and 
possibly destructive) origins. 


for the locking pin 

Screw (1) 

for the cover pivot 

■ • GlueM) 
! • Wax(1) 


My architect friends Lorenzo Bini and Roberta Pezzulla made this little project for a very 
young and dynamic client: Lorenzo's 6-month-old goddaughter. They wanted to make a box 
that the child could use her whole life to store small, personal, precious things. So they 
created the UnaBox, taking inspiration from an Indian box (by an anonymous designer) that 
had an obscure opening system with 2 pivoting lids. 

The box's dimensions are based on the golden ratio, and it allows access only to patient and 

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The UnaBox 

curious people; many adults have tried to open it and failed. Here's how to build one 

• The box is made from 1 1 pieces cut from a single board, plus a screw and a thin peg for 
the pivot and locking pin. Check out the files section for a rough schematic and visit for CAD drawings and an assembly sequence. 

• To make the pieces, you can send the drawing to a CAD/CAM company and wait for the 
mailman, give it to a good carpenter, or cut the pieces yourself using a small handsaw or 
band saw. 

• Finish everything roughly with a wood file, and then more precisely with plenty of 

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The UnaBox 

• Following the plan, drill a hole in piece 1 1 and a slot in piece 9 that your screw will slide 
through (to cut the slot, drill each end and then thread in a saw blade). Also drill smaller 
holes in the pieces for the locking pin, running the drill only partway through piece 9. Drill 
both holes with the 2 pieces stacked together to make sure they align. 

• The diagram in the downloads section shows how the parts of the UnaBox fit together. 
With precise cutting, the bottom and sides of the box, parts 1-5, should assemble with 
almost no glue; use small clamps to hold them while the glue cures. 

• Glue stacked pieces 6-8 together and glue them to piece 1 , the bottom of the box. Also 
glue together pieces 9 and 10 for the box's top. Once you're done with the glue and the 
clamps, drill pieces 6-8 to hold the bottom of the pivot screw. 

• Finally, finish the box with a good natural wax and polish it. This makes the most of the 
wood, and gives it a nice smell and touch that kids love. 

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The UnaBox 

The closed box gives few clues to how it's opened. You need to remove the peg and swing 
part of the top away before the rest of the top has enough clearance to slide back and 
swing open. 

So far, we've built 2 of these boxes: the first one with olive wood, the second with cherry. 
If you build your own UnaBox, we would love to hear from you at 

Get SketchUp and AutoCAD models of the UnaBox pieces, and drawings of the assembly 
sequence in Flash and SVG, at . 

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The UnaBox 

This project first appeared in MAKE Volume 20 , page 65. 

This document was last generated on 201 2-1 0-31 06:43:27 PM. 

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